( A commentary on john 19:31-37 )
Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced. (John 19: 31-37)
Today’s Gospel presents the scene which most of us have heard and read about in our journey as Christians. The last minutes of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Its vivid imagery should be foremost in our minds because it means so much to you and me.
So let’s “look upon him whom they have pierced.”
On Calvary, Jesus’ heart was pierced by a lance and from it “immediately blood and water flowed out,”. That water and blood symbolize how God wants to infuse us with the love of his heart. That begins by creating the conditions for us to “look upon him whom they have pierced,” to look on Christ’s outpouring love, taking upon him our sins and paying the price of our redemption. We need to behold Christ’s pierced side.
To honor Jesus’ heart means that we give homage to his entire sacred humanity, conscious that Jesus took our own nature in order to offer it for us, redeem it, and make it the sacred dwelling place of God once again. To honor his heart means that we want our humanity to be transformed by his, so that we may come fully alive and thereby give God glory.
Whenever we fail to align our heart and treasure with the love that beats in his heart for us, his heart is wounded. Jesus is not stoically indifferent to our rejection, but feels our unrequited love in the depth of his human heart and divine and human love.
The cross produces the faith and repentance which it demands. If you cannot come to Christ with faith and repentance, come to Christ for faith and repentance, for he can give them to you. He is pierced on purpose that you may be pricked to the heart. His blood, which freely flows, is shed for many for the remission of sins. What you have to do is just to look, and, as you look, those feelings which are the marks of conversion and regeneration shall be wrought in you by a sight of him
Just as Jesus surrenders himself to the Father’s will, so too, we must surrender ourselves if we want to show our gratitude. After contemplating Christ’s love, we cannot go on loving the same as before. Every day we need to grow in love and appreciation for what Christ has done for me. We were like birds caught in a trap, and now we are free. Freely we need to communicate this love to all mankind through prayer, words and our example. Ask Christ for the decision to do whatever it takes to communicate his love to those around you.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, begin a new work of love within me. Instill in me a greater love and respect for your commandments. Give me a burning desire to live a life of holiness and righteousness. Purify my thoughts, desires, and intentions that I may only desire what is pleasing to you and in accord with your will.
“The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom” (Abbot Rupert of Deutz, early 12th century).
The Cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love. It is also the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness. By his cross Jesus has redeemed our sin and atoned for our punishment. The way to peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God and the way to victory over sin, despair, and death is through the cross of Jesus Christ. Do you willingly follow Jesus in his way of the cross with joy, hope, and confidence?